As Linda Holcomb, President of the Glendale/Foothill/Pasadena California Autobody Association chapter, fights her battle with breast cancer, industry members continue to rally behind one of the first female pioneers in the business.
Holcomb recently underwent a minor surgery, followed by her third round of chemotherapy treatment. In addition, her treatment will include surgery, radiation and breast re-construction, followed by a year of herception therapy and five years of hormone treatment.
“You have your ups and downs,” said Holcomb. “That’s part of this program.” She said the support and well wishes she’s getting from the industry really means so much to her. “This is truly what keeps me in very high spirits and what will get me through this.” Holcomb has about 10 more months of treatment.
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of the cards and checks industry people are sending me. We are up to close to $19,000,” Linda said. “This has allowed me to pay for a lot of medical bills, and has taken away so much anxiety. After my third chemo treatment, my tumors have shrunk by 50%. That is pretty good progress. But I’m far from finished. I am about a third of the way through this treatment.”
Holcomb, of J.R. Sandoval Enterprises in Monrovia, CA, began working in the auto equipment sales industry in 1968, right out of high school. In 1970, Wilson Sales Co. assigned Linda to a “Paint Your Car in 24 Hours” concept body shop, in Caracas, Venezuela, where she also became the first woman Chamber of Commerce member. In 1973, Linda returned to Long Beach, CA, and started J.R. Sandoval Enterprises, which distributes body shop equipment and manufactured paint spray booths.
In 1975, Linda met Maureen Holmes of Holmes Body Shop in Pasadena, CA. At the time, not many women were intensely involved or truly engaged in the auto body business. This mutual passion provided the communality for friendship along with another female body shop co-owner, Linda Murphy from Glendale, CA. In those days, the three women were the only women at industry association meetings.
In 2011, Linda Holcomb was voted ‘Best Chapter President’ in the California Autobody Association. She has participated in the CAA, CIC, SCRS, Write It Right Committee, Best Practices Committee, Environmental Committee and more. She has spent enormous amounts of time with the SCAQMD, South Coast Air Quality Management District, on behalf of the interests of shop owners in southern California and elsewhere.
Ben Mendoza, Orange County chapter president of the CAA, recently praised Linda for all the time she spent going to the SCAQMD board meetings and how valuable that has been. He said how unusual it was that they actually listened to the industry due in no small part to the efforts of Linda Holcomb. He also said Linda was at least partially responsible for getting the delay on implementation of AQMD Rule 1147.
After her husband’s death, Holcomb raised her son alone and he recently moved to start a new job in Brooklyn, NY. Linda has always prided herself on being independent and self sufficient. Now, stricken with cancer, without family to help, and the necessity of taking time out of work for doctors and hospitals and treatments, she finds herself in a position of needing financial assistance, Holmes said.
To donate to Linda’s health care fund, please contact Lillian Maimone at email@example.com or mail a check made out to Linda Holcomb at 317 Linwood Avenue, Unit B, Monrovia, CA 91016.
“I’m so honored and grateful for all of the industry support,” Holcomb said. “It makes me feel so proud that so many people care about me and my path to recovery. Thanks to everyone for their help.”
For more information about Linda’s background and biography see our August, 2008 story “Linda Holcomb Plays Hand She Is Dealt, Hits a Grand Slam in Life” at www.autobodynews.com.
Search ‘Linda Holcomb’ for the story and to read about her other contributions.